The ecologist in me says try and remove any one item out of your list and try, for all practical purposes (sure you can wrap the line around your fist or something and yes Lee Wulff caught atlantics without a rod, yada yada) to fly fish in the classic sense. Its a system. Take any one item out and the system grinds to a halt. I think most of us would like to have all the pieces in place when we hit the river. Although...there is this....ever forget your flies and try to fly fish?
You are quite right Gary, it is a system. As I mentioned, all of the items are an essential part of fly fishing. As you say "Take any one item out and the system grinds to a halt." is a true statement.
My question is, I'll try to reword it: Which piece of equipment is your most favorite piece that gives you the most pleasure? BTW, price or quality doesn't have to be a determining factor. I hope this helps made the question more understood. I'll edit the pole a bit to try to make it more clear.
I was just about to go back and edit my post to say that; provided I have not left my tackle at home my patience and skills at locating fish are the only way I have success. It doesn't matter what rod, reel, line, or how pretty my flies are. If I fail to find the fish I don't do too well.
NO FAIR! Frank and Ard cheated! Coloring outside the lines strictly prohibited. Always follow directions. Actors are compensated. Professional driver on closed course. Don't try this at home, kids!
You left out the one thing that is by far the most important, the Fly Fisher's ability. I will take the experience/knowledge of a Fly Fisher over any equipment.
It seems my edit to this poll is still not getting my point accoss. It's mainly due to the initial question in the title. I don't know how to edit it. the word "important" in the question should be "gratifying" or "satisfying".
My idea is to ask about what one piece of gear gives you the most pleasure to fish with. Some of the comments are inline with what I had in mind.
I agree that knowledge is important to success that certainly can lead to gratification in the sport. But that comes with experience and learning. Something that can take years to achieve.
I suppose the opposite question would be: What one piece of gear give you the more fustration than any of the others?
I consider myself a 25 year novice. Some people can be an expert in less than a couple years.
Anyway, if I, or someone, could change "important" to something like "gratifying" that would be great.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
re: The most Gratifying piece of gear
The line, and I see a few others appear to agree.
To over state my reasoning .... a rod's, a rod, and just that ... a 'wippy lever' to toss the line. What kind of rod (or should that be 'rod action?') is a mater of personal taste. And the depth of your wallet.
The reel? A place to store the line that you don't have in the air. As long it's appropriately sized for the fish being targeted, is a $800.00 'something' really much better than a $50.00 Plug. Medalist?
The leader? You have to have 'something' to connect the line to the 'bait,' what ever that may be. And it could just be a straight length of mono ..... (Well, yes it should be at least a three section drop down from butt to tippet. But I know guys who just use a butt section and tippet.)
Now the line, ah yes .. THE line. Ever counted how many types/kinds/finishes/formations/what-ever's are available for you to connect the reel/rod and fly. Hell, I'm not even going to mention how many "flavors" spey rod lines are available. Mind boggling. But when you get 'the match,' that's when the fun begins.